When I heard there was a book coming out about a woman who thinks she’s turning into a dog, I knew it would be disturbing. And clearly, that makes it a must read.
Nightbitch, a debut from Rachel Yoder, is the story of a stay-at-home mom living in the middle of the country who starts experiencing physical and emotional manifestations of “canine”. A former artist who worked in a museum, she is struggling with home life and doesn’t fit in with the other SAHM’s who seem to be reveling in motherhood. One day she notices that she’s getting hairier and her canines are sharpening. So begins the journey of the unnamed lady who is concerned that she’s transforming into a dog. Her husband, never home due to travel and work, laughs her concerns off. Her rambunctious two year old son adds to her stress, and plays along with her new canine fixation. To call our solitary protagonist an unreliable narrator is an understatement. Is she really turning into a dog, or is she crazy? Is this a fable? Or was this performance art the whole time and a trick on the reader? You’ll have to read to find out. And while you do, you’ll get some insight into how unrealistic expectations impact women, who must have perfect bodies and be perfect mothers, all while holding down a job. And if they don’t do all the above, they are made to feel like failures or like they owe their husbands and the world something. How feminism was supposed to be about choice and equality, but instead added responsibility to women who are now expected to do it all, or risk criticism. Because the unequal expectations never really went away, men still get paid more, and women still do most of the daily chores.
This is a black comedy that was violent, gross, hilarious, disturbing. and majorly f*cked. There were parts where I actually stopped and gasped “ew” and “wtf” out loud. That being said, I enjoyed it immensely and strongly recommend.
The movie rights to this were picked up by Annapurna Pictures in 2020 before the book was even published. Amy Adams has already signed on so I won’t do a dream cast for this post.